CONCORD, N.C. – Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Cup Series head to Austin, Texas, this weekend for the sixth race of the season at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Sunday's race will be the first event of the season to take place on a road course. 

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As for the competition itself, there will be two notable changes to the event that were not present in 2022. The first is a lack of stage break cautions. Stage points will still be awarded at the designated laps, but the caution flag will not be deployed at the end of stages one and two. This is the first time since 2016 that a Cup Series points-paying race will not feature scheduled yellow flags. 

The second change of note will be the rules package. This race will use the aerodynamic rules package that will be utilized for most short ovals and road courses. This rules package will result in a decrease in downforce. The Cup Series debuted this package earlier this month at Phoenix Raceway, with William Byron taking the checkered flag

COTA has only hosted two Cup Series events. Chase Elliott took home the checkered flag during the inaugural race at the 20-turn road course in 2021. 

RELATED: Through the years: Road course wins by Hendrick Motorsports

By the numbers, Alex Bowman’s road course statistics are quite impressive. While he has yet to visit victory lane on this type of circuit, the 29-year-old driver has yet to finish outside the top 10 at COTA through two attempts. Last year’s main event saw Bowman grab the lead with two corners to go before contact with Ross Chastain forced the No. 48 Ally Racing team to settle for a runner-up finish — the second of his career on a road course. 

With two victories already, Byron is off to a hot start to 2023. For the year’s first event turning left and right, the 25-year-old driver will look to earn his first top-10 finish at COTA. In two attempts, he has come home with 11th- and 12th-place finishes, respectively. While he has yet to break through and win on this type of track, the driver of the No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet has earned three pole positions on road courses in his career. He will also be participating in extracurricular racing this weekend as he pilots the No. 17 entry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 25.

Kyle Larson has achieved a great deal of success on road courses since coming to Hendrick Motorsports ahead of the 2021 season. He has four victories on serpentine layouts, which is the most by any driver in that span. Those four wins rank the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet third in team history for road course wins and also put him tied for second among active drivers with road course wins. The 30-year-old was the runner-up finisher to Elliott in the inaugural race at the 3.41-mile track in 2021. 

Filling in for the injured Elliott this weekend with be the 2017 IMSA Prototype Champion and current Corvette Racing team member Jordan Taylor. This will be his first start at the Cup Series level. He brings a wealth of road racing success to his debut, having won the overall crown at the 24 Hours of DAYTONA twice (with team vice chairman Jeff Gordon as part of the winning lineup in 2017) and the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans LMGTE Pro Class. Taylor is also the driver coach/reserve driver for the Garage 56 entry competing at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

RELATED: Garage 56 prep continues

Sunday afternoon’s 68-lap race is the first of six road course races on the 2023 Cup Series calendar. Here’s what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.


Similar to Phoenix’s schedule two weeks ago, Friday afternoon will feature a full 50-minute practice session for all drivers on Friday, March 24 at 2:35 p.m. ET. Live coverage will not be available for practice, but Hendrick Motorsports social channels will be provided updates. The practice will air tape delayed at 8 p.m. ET on FS1. 

Group qualifying will take place on Saturday, March 25, at 11:30 a.m. ET on and be broadcast on FS1. Byron and Larson are in Group A, while Taylor and Bowman will be part of Group B. 

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The Xfinity Series will take to the track on Friday, March 24, for their practice and qualifying sessions. On-track action will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by group qualifying at 7:00 p.m. ET. Both sessions will be broadcast live on FS1. Byron will be in Group A.


The 68-lap Cup Series main event is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 26, and will be broadcast on FOX.

The 46-lap Xfinity Series race will begin at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 25, and will be televised on FS1


The races will be on PRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). 


Yes. Download the FOX Sports Live app for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick.  


It varies by location, but this link allows viewers to find the channels by entering their zip code and selecting their television provider.  

Data provided by Racing Insights  

3: Byron’s three stage wins put him in a tie for the most of any driver this season. 

7.8: Average finish from Bowman in 2023. The driver of the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet leads the field in this category.

26: The number of road courses wins by Hendrick Motorsports in the organization's history. The team has won 11 road course races since 2018.

31: The total of IMSA Class wins for Taylor. He has two IMSA wins at COTA in his career.

270: Larson’s 270 laps led are the most of any driver in the Cup Series this season.